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Safeguard Your Dog From Heartworms

Heartworms are a type of roundworm that live in the heart, lungs, and nearby blood vessels of infected animals. This can lead to heartworm disease, which is a potentially fatal condition. Although the infection can be treated, it can cause lasting damage to the heart, lungs, and other organs.


How heartworm is spread

Dogs can get heartworms from mosquito bites. The larvae transmitted by the mosquito travel through the dog’s body and settle in the blood vessels around the heart and lungs. After 6 months, the larvae mature into adult heartworms that can grow up to 12 inches long. These adult heartworms reproduce and release more larvae into the dog’s blood, which can be transmitted to other dogs via mosquito bites.


Diagnosing heartworm

To increase the chances of your dog’s recovery, it’s important to identify heartworm disease early. Regularly testing your dog every year is also crucial as there are usually no early signs of the condition. You can detect heartworms through a quick blood test. In case your dog shows symptoms of heartworm disease, they may include coughing, disliking physical activity, and having poor physical condition.


Preventing heartworm

It is important to give your dog a heartworm preventive on the same day each month to fully protect them from the disease. Additionally, using a mosquito-repelling product can help prevent your dog from getting bitten by mosquitoes in the first place. During your dog’s yearly preventive care appointment, we will check for heartworms to ensure that the preventive has been working effectively. Keep in mind that if you do not adhere to this preventive routine, your dog may be at higher risk for heartworm infection:

  • A dose of preventive medication was missed
  • A dose of preventive medication was given late
  • The preventive was spit out or vomited by the dog

If left untreated, heartworm infections can become more severe over time. Even after being treated, the presence of heartworms can still affect a dog’s health and quality of life.

If you need a heartworm test or preventive care for your dog, a refill for their preventative medication, or if your puppy is showing signs of a heartworm infection, please give us a call.